Community center may come to park

"A massive, public-funded community center would be built at South Kitsap Community Park under a tentative plan being considered by the park's commissioners.The center would cover 90,000 square feet and include basketball, racquetball and indoor tennis courts, a daycare facility, meeting rooms, computers for public use and after-school activities for children. The center would have something for all ages, including programs for senior citizens and youth dances, said Chuck Jeu, a South Kitsap Parks and Recreation District Commissioner who proposed it to fellow commissioners at their public meeting Thursday.Jeu didn't provide estimated costs of building and running the center, but his proposal calls for public support through a bond measure and user fees. Voters would be asked to pass a bond that would pay for construction and the first three years of operation. After that period, officials could decide to go back to the voters with a maintenance and operations levy if it was determined that user fees couldn't sustain the center in coming years, he said.Jeu, who was elected a commissioner last year, is an architect and project consultant. He has drawn preliminary plans for a center, but he emphasized that extensive community input on the project should be sought before the district decides whether to move forward with the project and seek voter approval. He said he hopes the center could be open in three years.A community center is the third major improvement proposed for the park in the past 12 months. An amusement center, which would have included go-karts, miniature golf and community rooms, was rejected by Kitsap County land-use officials last spring and subsequently was dropped by its private proponents. Then last month, private developers went public with their idea for an indoor soccer arena at the park. They said they would compensate the park district in exchange for being allowed to build and operate the soccer facility on park property for recreational leagues, soccer clinics and dances.Jeu said the soccer project and the community center should be developed as part of a master plan for the park, but with the soccer arena left to private interests.The new center, Jeu said, would be different from Givens Community Center, both in terms of the facilities offered and because Givens is operated by Kitsap County and used partially for government offices. The center at the park would be entirely for community use, he said."

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